Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue 9
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
=> Important News and Useful Links - What Medical
Schools look for... from the 2002 National Advisors Meeting
=> Dates and Reminders - Financial Aid Link and
Important AMCAS and AACOMAS News for Class of 2003 Applicants
=> Important People, Schools and Programs - Impact
of Extended Time for Learning-Disabled and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder MCAT Takers
=> Success Story of the Month - The Medical Scientist
Training Program Route and Physician Assistant applicant will go to
=> Question of the Month - How do you deal with
=> Focus on a Health Profession - Naturopathic
=> Our Services
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
Congratulations to the Class of 2001 advised by Dr. Lewis! We had 94%
acceptance for our premedical applicants all over the U.S.! See our
website, http://www.lewisassoc.com/, for the Class of 2002 Progress
Happy 4th of July! Hope some of you have a vacation breaksometime this
If you want to change your career or reach your career goal, but do
not know how to begin or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates
can implement strategies that will change your life. Read about it in
our newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started!
Developing YOU to your potential is our goal, and people are our "most
important product". Dr. Cynthia Lewis has been advising Pre-health
students with an overall acceptance rate of 85% since 1985.Lewis Associates
was launched in 1998 to provide long term, personalized advising services
to students across North America, specializing in Medicine, Osteopathic
Medicine, Dentistry, Physician Assistant and Veterinary Medicine. Our
success is real. You may be like our Advisees---highly motivated and
intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise.
Dr. Lewis is a trained biologist, having taught and directed her own
research programs for many years at two universities. She received two
postdoctoral fellowships (one at NIH) and received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding
Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. She teaches Professionalism,
Leadership and Quality, and sets high standards for her Advisees.
n e w s a n d l i n k s
N E W S :
What Medical Schools Look for
Dr. Robert F. Sabalis, Associate Vice President, Student Programs,
Association of American Medical Colleges, gave the Keynote address at
the June 24-28 National Association for the Advisors for the Health
Professions meeting in Las Vegas. Here are the 10 items he indicated
that medical schools look for:
(1) Persistence after failure
(2) Toleration of stress
(3) Service orientation
(8) Intellectually capable
(9) Will follow /locate knowledge
(10) Knowledge of one's boundaries
L I N K S : Useful Link of the Month
A searchable database was recently added to the Student
Hub of the Association of American Medical Colleges to assist students
in identifying financial aid forms required by each US medical school.
d a t e s
Important AMCAS, AACOMAS News for Class of 2003 Applicants
The status check function is now available to see what college transcripts
are received and give dates of when your submitted AACOMAS application
was sent to each school you have requested. Access to your biographical
profile online and addition of a print button will begin via the status
check function by the "end of July". Our first submitted applicants
are now getting requests for secondaries!
The first batch of verified applications will be processed to medical
schools beginning July 8, 2002. In order to determine your verification
date, you may need to call AMCAS directly: 202 828 0600; this date may
be indicated on your processed application.
Most secondary (supplemental) applications are now online.
New GRE coming in October, 2002
As of October 1, 2002, the General test will be composed of verbal,
quantitative and analytical writing sections. The verbal and quantitative
sections will be unchanged from their present format. The analytical
writing section will be identical to the stand-alone test GRE call the
'Writing Assessment' that was introduced in October 1999. The current
analytical section will no longer be part of the General Test.
p e o p l e & s c h o o l s
Impact of Extended Time for Learning-Disabled
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder MCAT Takers
At the NAAHP meeting in Las Vegas last week, Dr. Ellen Julian, Director
of the MCAT and Dr. Anthony Hilger, University of North Carolina, presented
the first report from a longer study of the impact of extended time
for disabled MCAT takers. They will publish this report later this year
and in the future focus on how accommodations affects admissions outcomes.
Students with learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) who request testing accommodations on the MCAT most
commonly receive extended time. Their score reports are flagged with
an asterisk when sent to medical school admissions offices. Some schools
choose not to receive the flag information. How do test scores and GPAS
of students with LD/ADHD compare with those who have flagged scores
for other reasons and students with standard scores? Are students with
LD/ADHD and other students with flagged MCAT scores held to the same
standard of admission as others? This study analyzes 7 years of data,
including MCAT scores, undergraduate GPAs, race and gender of students
with LD/ADHD who used extended time on the MCAT and compares this data
to that of all other students who took the test under standard conditions
between 1994 and 2000.
In 1998, the eligibility criteria for LD/ADHD changed significantly,
so early data may not reflect current outcomes. The entire population
of test takers includes about 1300 with LD, 400 with ADHD and 50 with
both. Most common accommodations include time and a half or double time
in a separate room with a proctor. Other common accommodations include
a special seat, unspecified extra time, breaks between sessions (not
flagged), restroom breaks, transcriber and a reader.
Results: The average increase of total scores (VR, PS and BS) for those
who first took the MCAT under standard conditions, then a second time
with accommodations is: ADHD 6.5 points, LD 6 points and LD/ADHD 6 points.
The VR section had the most gain of 2.1 points and on average test takers
gained 2 points per section.
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
S H A N O N H E A T O N : Accepted to
Yale Physician Assistant Program
K I S A N I O G W A R O : Entering Medical Scientist
Training Program after NIH
Shanon Heaton is accepted to her first choice Physician
Assistant Program -- read below:
06.24.02 "Hi Dr. Lewis, I am doing well. Joe and I found an apartment
on campus in a really neat area (so I hear since I haven't seen it).
I am so lucky to have the resources I have! Scott is able to tell me
what areas to live and tons of cool Yale info! I am getting really excited
for this next chapter in my life. I found out Friday that I will be
receiving a $16,000 scholarship per year from Yale. That makes things
seem a little less stressful! I am so thankful how well things are going!"
Kisani Ogwaro entering Medical Scientist Training Program after
I have known Kisani now for seven years! I recruited her into my Health
Careers Opportunity Program and then she joined CUHRE in 1997 when it
was formed. Kisani, which means "kindness," was born in Kisumu,
Kenya, near Lake Victoria to an American mother who taught at a primary
school and a Ugandan father who was completing his doctorate in entomology.
When Kisani was a young child, she says, "While we were walking
along the shore, my father found a human skull and bones inside a cave.
Later, I learned that the oldest human remains had been found near where
I lived. I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist and would spend my
time digging in our backyard. In second grade, my father substituted
for my class and asked all the students what they wanted to be when
they grew up. I told my father that I wanted to be a scientist who does
research to help doctors. My favorite game as a child was Clue, and
now I enjoy surfing the Grateful Med. I feel like I haven't changed
much. When I see a topic, I am given a clue to something greater that
I want to search. Research is the never-ending story, once the 'end'
is reached, it's really only the beginning. I fell in love with research
early in my childhood."
From an early age science and math have been passions for Kisani. Her
mother taught Kisani to read and to love reading at an early age. She
says, "When I was four, I tried to ride my mother's motorcycle.
I didn't get very far before the motorbike fell on my right leg, breaking
it. I had to be driven on bumpy roads all the way to the hospital, each
bump or pothole made me cry out in pain. I remember thinking that I
wanted to try putting a cast on someone. The same year that I broke
my leg, one of my playmates died of cholera, just six hours after we
had been playing together. She had seemed well that day, but at night
she became ill, and by the time she got to the hospital it was too late.
I'm told that it was a tragedy that affected the entire village. I kept
asking for my friend, unable to believe I would never see her again.
I now know that basic sanitary habits prevent the spread of cholera
and might have prevented my friend from dying. I did contract malaria
right before my birthday in 4th grade and felt so horrible, I forgot
how it was not to be sick; I had the revelation that I had taken my
health for granted. I vowed that if I got better, I would do something
to fight against sickness. Knowing how easy it had been for me to get
sick, I promised myself that I would learn more about the etiology of
sickness in order to avoid it as best I could." In 1982, the family
moved to Uganda on the western shore of Lake Victoria when Idi Amin
Her parents wished to help her father's native country, Uganda, to
recover. Her father taught at Mackerere University and Kisani's paternal
grandmother lived with them. Kisani completed 4th grade in Uganda. Beginning
in second grade, French was added to Swahili and English lessons. She
continued learning French in U.S. schools for six more years. Her grandmother
died of diabetes when Kisani was age 7. Kisani says, "Adult-onset
diabetes is common in my family; my uncle has it now. My parents are
on a diet recommended to diabetics for fear of my father contracting
it. But, my family history is not the prime reason I am interested in
diabetes. Diabetes Mellitus disrupts major biochemical processes; it
can bring many complications including kidney disease, blindness, neuropathy,
and atherosclerosis. Studying this disease can, therefore, help patients
afflicted with these complications as well as healthy people who want
to know how to provide their body with appropriate nutrients."
Kisani says, "Unfortunately, the peace after Amin's rule was short-lived.
Civil war broke out again and soldiers wrecked havoc on the streets.
Anticipating the possibility of rape, my hair was shaved off to make
me look like a boy, and we had an emergency plan to send my older sister
into the attic if ever the soldiers drew near our house. When they pulled
into our driveway, my dad and my sister hid in the attic, while I jumped
up and down in fear and helplessness. Thankfully, the jeep full of soldiers
reversed out of our driveway; I will never forget how relieved I was.
Shortly after, my family left Uganda and moved to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
It is appropriate that Dar-es-Salaam means "harbor of peace";
that is exactly what it was for us. We lost all of our belongings due
to the war, but we were happy because we were safe.
Our Ugandan friends had their houses looted by soldiers who pointed
guns at their children's heads." At age 9, Kisani entered 5th grade
in the International School of Tanganyika, Tanzania, where courses were
taught in Swahili. They moved to California in 1987 because her mother
was a U.S. Citizen. Kisani says, "When I started sixth grade in
Davis, California, I suffered 'culture shock.' A boy in my class called
me a 'nigger.' I had heard about slavery, and knew of the problem of
racism in America, but it was not until college that I was thoroughly
taught about the history of Black people." Kisani began college
at age 16; her mother returned to attend college the same year to earn
a Master's degree in Speech Therapy. Kisani says she chose to live in
the American South for a year of college. "To observe the African's
situation in a place where people were not scared to admit they did
not like you. Ready to observe when I got off the plane in Nashville's
busy airport, I counted six Africans, three of whom worked there. It
was easy for the representatives from Fisk University to spot me, and
we sat together waiting for other students to join us. Traveling from
the airport was like going from white to black. One side of the town
was all white and the other, all black.
I came to Nashville to attend the Pre-Medical Summer Institute offered
by Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities funded by the Minority Medical Education
Program and the United Negro College Fund. I decided to stay for a year
at Fisk, the first university founded for African-Americans, in order
to attend a school that is taught from the Black person's perspective,
including the study of the African people as part of the core curriculum."
While at Fisk University, Kisani shadowed a Psychiatrist who worked
in the VA Hospital's Substance Abuse Program. She says, "I got
to see him conduct interviews to determine if patients had a drug problem,
and I got to take a patient history for the first time. I also sat in
on meetings where doctors, physician assistants, occupational therapists,
counselors, and chaplains talked about patients, and did exit interviews
to determine if they had succeeded in rehabilitating patients who graduated
from the program. At these meetings, I learned that health care involves
the work of many people, not just doctors.
Each of the people involved with a patient brought new insights into
what the patient needed in order to recover from their dependency. Sometimes,
the patient would confide in one person and not another. It was exciting
to see first-hand the problem solving and 'detective' work that medicine
involves." In the summer of 1997, Kisani did an REU research program
at the University of Arkansas on Acylation of Gramicidin to determine
how conformation changes affect its ion channel functions. She says,
"My experience at the University of Arkansas assured me that I
want my future to include research." Kisani says, "I want
to study HIV because of my interest in the immune system and because
of the great number of people infected in Africa. I am dismayed that
many medical providers have left due to the risk of getting infected
with HIV. As a doctor, I don't want to be so scared of the disease that
I am unwilling to provide medical care to people who need it. Knowledge
of the mechanism of disease will alleviate the fear of not being able
to cure it. That is why I want to earn my Ph.D. in immunology emphasizing
the treatment of AIDS. My cousin and my uncle among others of my extended
family in Africa have died due to AIDS."
Kisani did research in immunology as an undergraduate, was accepted
to Medical Scientist Training Programs at Baylor and the University
of Alabama, Birmingham in 2000 and deferred for two years to take a
Post baccalaureate Research Fellowship at the National Institutes of
Health in Dr. Anthony Faucci's AIDS laboratory. She has just finished
this Fellowship and will enter the MSTP, a fully funded 8 years of MD
and doctoral training in Birmingham. Kisani is multicultural and multilingual
and a particularly gifted student in math and sciences, with a strong
intellect and curiosity. She was an Enrichment Instructor and leader
in CUHRE. She has a delightful positive outlook and a strong work ethic.
In her words is a vision of her future after completing her M.D. Ph.D:
"Scientists used the active chemical in the Mexican yam to develop
modern forms of birth control; they knew where to look because of traditional
medicinal practices that were used by South American women. People in
developing countries have rainforests and jungles, but are lacking in
modern medical care. Many people rely on and even prefer traditional
healing to modern techniques. My dream is to combine the two. After
I get my medical degree, I want to meet with traditional healers so
that we can teach each other. Maybe I would give them a better understanding
of the etiology of disease; for example, many people think that epilepsy
is a spiritual curse and do not understand that it has a physical basis.
Then, maybe with my understanding of modern drugs that can help to control
epilepsy, I could find similar natural products that are readily available
to people in developing countries. The traditional healers could then,
in turn, teach me by showing me plants that they give to patients. Then,
I could analyze the physiologic action of the plants and could discover
something that would be of help to 'modern' doctors. Well, at least
that's the way my dream plays out; we'll just have to wait and see how
my real life turns out."
q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
How do you deal with stress?
Lynne sat for months watching TV reruns after she was laid off from
her job. How could they do that after 17 years of loyal service? Lynne
struggled with her feelings of failure and embarrassment about her unemployment.
Her childhood asthma attacks returned and she stopped exercising. After
9 months, numerous doctor appointments and 23 added pounds, she begrudgingly
accepted a position with the county as a clerical assistant. Joanne
wasn't happy about being laid off, but decided to channel her energies
into exploring other opportunities. She put out feelers for job opportunities
to her many friends and acquaintances. She used her free time to clean
out her closets, reorganize her priorities, and explore new job possibilities.
She could see that being laid off was a sign that she was ready for
something new. She decided to head for Phoenix where she found work
as an assistant director for an agency that prepares women over 40 to
re-enter the job market. How is it that two people faced with the same
stressful event could react so differently? Why do some people crack
under stress and others maintain their health and even thrive.
After studying people who withstood a lot of stress without suffering
significant illness, psychologists Susan Kobasa and Salvatore Maadi
suggested that the key to optimal health may be "hardiness"-their
term for the ability to cope. Hardy people like Joanne view life's stresses
in ways that evoke minimal "stress response". Statistics show
that hardy people stay healthier than their "soft" counterparts
even when they have stronger family histories of disease. What do these
hardy individuals have in common? Simply this: They feel in control
of their lives; they are committed to themselves and to others; and
they perceive stressful life events as challenges, instead of problems.
A review of 6 major heart studies supports the hardiness theory. William
Osler, MD, a pioneer of modern medicine, said, "It is much more
important to know what sort of patient has the disease than what sort
of disease the patient has." The most important step toward becoming
hardier and healthier, is to develop a repertoire of successful coping
mechanisms. While most conceive of coping as the ability to overcome
major problems and difficulties, it may be more helpful to see coping
as Lazarus at UC Berkeley does: "How we face life's little challenges."
Your seven year old spills his juice, you can't find the car keys and
your husband announces his mother is coming to dinner. While these are
not major life events, Lazarus' studies show that reactions to minor
hassles may be the best predictors of illness. Coping is often the matter
of putting small problems in perspective, learning to "roll with
the punches and bend with the breeze."
Major stress may require "active coping." Try these techniques:
* Information search - In many situations, lack of knowledge is the
main source of distress. When faced with any crisis, get adequate and
accurate information as soon as possible.
* Positive reappraisal - Try to make the best of bad situations. People
who cope effectively look back on stressful times and say, "I'm
a better person because of that-I changed and grew." When times
are tough, this approach can encourage feelings of pride and satisfaction,
rather than more harmful emotions such as anger and depression.
* Problem-solving - Confront the situation head-on. Devise a plan of
action and follow it step by step.
From: Live Well-Be Well, 3/02 Kaiser Permanente Preventive Medicine
We will feature an important question each month. Please
submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions
h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n
There are four schools of Naturopathic Medicine in the US, each with
a four-year doctoral level program. Upon completion, one must pass Board
Exams I and II. The NIH National enter for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine now supports several million dollars of research in this area.
The average GPAs of matriculates are: overall GPA 3.3 and science GPA
3.34; 74% are female. Fourteen states currently license Naturopathic
Physicians; California and Florida may be added soon.
Lewis Associates specializes in personal, effective and professional
premedical advising and placement for traditional and non-traditional
applicants. Often, non-traditional students are older than 21 years
of age, career changers, international applicants or second-round applicants
for admission to health professions school.
Lewis Associates' services meet the needs of all types of students from
pre-applicants to applicants, including hourly advising support for
specific needs. Click
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or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.